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2015 clickingclean

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2015 clickingclean

  1. 1. greenpeace.org Clicking Clean: A Guide to Building the Green Internet May 2015 2015Update
  2. 2. 2 For more information contact: greeninternet@greenpeace.org Lead Author: Gary Cook, Greenpeace Co-author: David Pomerantz Research: Kassie Rohrbach and Brian Johnson Editor: Joe Smyth Design by: www.arccommunications.com.au Published in May 2015 by Greenpeace Inc. 702 H Street, NW Suite 300 Washington, D.C. 20001 United States greenpeace.org
  3. 3. Executive Summary 5 Company Scorecard 8 Cloud Power: Streaming Video On The Rise 11 Renewable Power for the Cloud: Drivers and Barriers 15 Road Map to a Green Internet 23 Powering Data Centers with Renewable Energy: A User Manual 29 Colocation Operators: The Landlords of the Internet 35 Your Online World: Dirty or Clean? 37 Appendix I: Methodology 38 Appendix II: Company Scores Explained 40 Appendix III 57 Notes 68 Contents
  4. 4. 03 4 UTP structure wiring in Data centers.
  5. 5. Greenpeace USA 5 Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet Executive Summary 5 The internet is rapidly working its way into nearly every aspect of the modern economy. Long unshackled from our web browser, we now find the internet at every turn, and ready to play a bigger role in our lives with each passing day. Today, the internet is rapidly transforming how you watch TV. Tomorrow, the internet may be driving your car and connecting you to high- definition video from every corner of the planet via your watch. The magic of the internet seems almost limitless. But each new internet enabled magic trick means more and more data, now growing over 20% each year.1 The emergence of cheap smartphones means that internet traffic from mobile devices will soon exceed what is delivered over wired connections. Global mobile data was estimated to increase by a whopping 69% in 2014, and is expected to maintain its breakneck growth through at least 2019, due to the rapid increase of video streaming to mobile devices and as more of the world’s population gains basic access to the internet via smartphones. The online population topped 3 billion in 2014, and mobile broadband subscriptions are expected to jump to a staggering 7.6 billion by 2020.2 While there may be significant energy efficiency gains from moving our lives online, the explosive growth of our digital lives is outstripping those gains. Publishing conglomerates now consume more energy from their data centers than their printing presses. Greenpeace has estimated that the aggregate electricity demand of our digital infrastructure back in 2011 would have ranked sixth in the world among countries.3 The rapid transition to streaming video models, as well as tablets and other thin client devices that supplant on-device storage with the cloud, means more and more demand for data center capacity, which will require more energy to power. The transition to online distribution models, such as video streaming, appears to deliver a reduction in the carbon footprint over traditional models of delivery. However, in some cases, this shift may simply be enabling much higher levels of consumption, ultimately increasing the total amount of electricity consumed and the associated pollution from electricity generation. Unless leading internet companies find a way to leapfrog traditional, polluting sources of electricity, the convenience of streaming could cause us to increase our carbon footprint. Executive Summary ©Dreamstime “If having the audacity to rely on grid power now puts a company at risk for public shaming, then the day is coming when every company’s energy usage will be viewed through a moral filter – similar to how its labor practices and foreign investments are viewed today. ”David Crane, NRG CEO4
  6. 6. 6 Greenpeace USA Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet Executive Summary 6 The Internet Can and Must Be Green The internet has already enabled positive changes and better lives for people around the world, and has the potential to serve as a critical foundation for sustainable economic growth, but we cannot make the transition to a renewable powered society fast enough to avoid catastrophic climate change unless the internet is also a platform to transition the world toward a renewable energy future. The good news is that a growing number of companies have begun to create a corner of the internet that is renewably powered and coal free, with over a half dozen major internet companies now committed to being 100% renewably powered, including major operators such as Apple, Facebook and Google. Renewable commitments by internet companies have had a big impact in driving renewable power in several key markets, as a growing number of utilities have begun to shift their investments to renewable energy to meet this new demand. A second tier of major data center operators and internet companies have now begun to explore options for increasing their renewable energy supply. While colocation data center operators still lag far behind consumer facing data center operators, several have begun to shift to explore how they can best increase their supply of renewable electricity, as an increasing number of their customers are asking that their cloud be powered by renewable energy. Holding The Green Internet Back Monopoly electric utilities which sell electricity that’s powered by mostly coal, and very little renewable energy, are the sole energy providers to several critical data center hubs, which continue to attract significant new data center investment. Prominent examples of such utilities - including Duke Energy (North Carolina), Dominion Resources (Virginia), and Taiwan Power Company (Taiwan) - have all recently established green electricity tariffs to provide a renewable electricity option for their large customers, but they have not yet attracted customers due to their poor design and locked-in price premium, even though renewable energy is increasingly at parity with, if not superior to, traditional sources of generation. These utilities represent the biggest obstacles to building a green internet, and will require collaborative pressure from data center operators and other electricity customers to secure the policy changes needed to open the market up to competitors that offer meaningful options for renewable energy. “An energy efficient facility is good, but a 100% renewable energy facility is better. ”Apple Environment report5
  7. 7. 7 Greenpeace USA Clicking Clean Overcoming Obstacles to a Green Internet Executive Summary Key Findings: • Apple continues to lead the charge in powering its corner of the internet with renewable energy even as it continues to rapidly expand. All three of its data center expansions announced in the past year will be powered with renewable energy. Apple is also having a positive impact on pushing major colocation providers to help it maintain progress toward its 100% renewable energy goal. • Colocation companies continue to lag far behind consumer-facing data center operators in seeking renewable energy to power their operations, but Equinix’s adoption of a 100% renewable energy commitment and offering of renewably hosted facilities is an important step forward. • Google continues to match Apple in deploying renewable energy with its expansion in some markets, but its march toward 100% renewable energy is increasingly under threat by monopoly utilities for several data centers including those in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Singapore and Taiwan. • Amazon’s adoption of a 100% renewable energy goal, while potentially significant, lacks basic transparency and, unlike similar commitments from Apple, Facebook or Google, does not yet appear to be guiding Amazon’s investment decisions toward renewable energy and away from coal. • The rapid rise of streaming video is driving significant growth in our online footprint, and in power-hungry data centers and network infrastructure needed to deliver it. • Microsoft has slipped further behind Apple and Google in the race to build a green internet, as its cloud footprint continues to undergo massive growth in an attempt to catch up with Amazon, but has not kept pace with Apple and Google in terms of its supply of renewable electricity. • Data center operators committed to renewable energy goals will need to redouble their efforts to work together to push policymakers for changes that allow them to procure renewable energy, overcoming the resistance of monopoly utilities.
  8. 8. 88 Energy Transparency Natural Gas Coal Nuclear A F A B A B C B C D C A C C D B C Renewable Energy Commitment & Siting Policy C C A D A B D B C F B B B D F B D Energy Efficiency & Mitigation A D A B A B B B C D B C A C D B C Renewable Energy Deployment & Advocacy C D A C B A C C C D C C B D F D D Company Scorecard Colocation Companies 24% 23% 100% 10% 49% 46% 22% 24% 39% 17% 25% 23% 73% 18% 6% 15% 18% 21% 0% 51% 10% 15% 26% 27% 19% 18% 21% 20% 6% 30% 25% 29% 27% 27% 0 29% 25% 21% 41% 30% 30% 50% 33% 25% 11% 28% 32% 29% 27% 26% 0 9% 14% 13% 11% 17% 10% 11% 21% 26% 8% 20% 34% 20% 15% (a) Clean Energy Index and Coal Intensity are calculated based on estimates of power demand for evaluated facilities. See Appendix III: Facilities Table. (b) Akamai’s energy consumption is spread across 1,300 data centers around the world, making individual tracking difficult. Regional demand and renewable energy data are from CDP data and information provided by company. (c) Greenpeace provided AWS with facility power demand estimates to review. AWS responded that the estimates were not correct, but did not provide alternative data. Using conservative calculations based on public records, Greenpeace has used the best information available to derive power demand. See Appendix II: Methodology, for more information. Greenpeace invites AWS to provide more accurate data for its facility power demands. Clean Energy Index
  9. 9. 9 EvoSwitch data center uses green energy to power the system. This energy efficient data center hosts providers, public institutions and private corporations. ©Frankvanbiemen/EvoSwitch/Greenpeace
  10. 10. 03 10 01 Supercomputer with cables and lamps. ©Dreamstime
  11. 11. Greenpeace USA 11 01 Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet Section one Cloud Power: Streaming Video on the Rise Cloud Power: Streaming Video on the Rise From the now omnipresent fields of streaming music and video, to the nascent “Internet of Things,” our online world continues to transform our offline lives with ever increasing speed. Internet data is now growing at 20% per year.6 Big data’s massive growth is expected to continue with the emergence of cheap smartphones: nearly 80% of the planet’s adult population will be connected to the internet by 2020, and the total number of devices connected to the internet will be roughly twice the global population by 2018. Internet traffic from mobile devices increased 69% in 2014 alone with the rapid increase of video streaming to mobile devices, and mobile traffic will exceed what is delivered over wired connections by 2018. The primary engine behind all of this growth is consumer traffic, which represents more than 80% of internet traffic currently, and is expected to maintain this high share through 2018.7 By far and away, the biggest driver of that consumer internet data is online video. Consumers bought nearly 100 million internet connected TVs in 2014, and the steady increase of video-enabled mobile devices has dramatically changed how and where we watch TV and movies. YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and other video streaming services that have suddenly become a regular staple in our daily lives already make up more than 60% of consumer internet traffic, and that number is expected to grow to 76% by 2018.8 76% 16% 8% File sharing Web/Email Video Expected internet consumer traffic: 20187 Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2013–2018.
  12. 12. 12 Greenpeace USA 12 Section one Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet 29% 34% 21% 16% Devices Networks Data Centers Manufacturing Devices Data Centers 20% 47%15% 18% 29% 34% 21% 16% Devices Networks Data Centers Manufacturing Devices Networks Data Centers Manufacturing 20% 47%15% 18% Main components of electricity consumption for the IT sector, 2012. From “Emerging Trends in Electricity Consumption for Consumer ICT” Main components of electricity consumption for the IT sector, 2017 estimate. From “Emerging Trends in Electricity Consumption for Consumer ICT” Percentage of global electricity consumption due to CE-ICT for best/expected/worst case scenarios. From “Emerging Trends in Electricity Consumption for Consumer ICT” Global electricity consumption in TWh/yr for best/expected/ worse case scenarios. From “Emerging Trends in Electricity Consumption for Consumer ICT” Electricity demand growth of the ICT sector Main components of electricity consumption for the ICT sector 2012 2017 12.0% 11.0% 10.0% 9.0% 8.0% 7.0% 6.0% 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Worst Case Expected Case Best Case 3,500 3,000 2,500 2,000 1,500 1,000 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Worst Case Expected Case Best Case
  13. 13. 13 Greenpeace USA Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet Section one While there may be some significant environmental and carbon benefits from moving much of our lives online, this explosive growth in our digital lives requires massive amounts of electricity, particularly for the data centers that serve as the factories of the digital economy. International Data Corporation predicts that the total number of data centers is expected to decline slightly by 2017, as more businesses shut down their smaller data centers and shift to the cloud, and larger data centers tend to be significantly more efficient. However, the shift by consumers to smart phones and tablets that depend on constant access to the cloud will increase the overall energy required to deliver these services, outweighing any efficiency gains realized by shifting to the cloud. The number of larger data centers is expected to increase dramatically, with mega data centers accounting for more than 70% of data center construction in 2018.9 Good data on the energy demand of data centers and the other infrastructure behind our digital world has been few and far between. Despite significant improvements in transparency from some companies since 2012, estimates of the energy demand of our growing number of electronic devices and the online world to which they are connected have varied widely in their methodology and scope. Recent studies estimate that the collective electricity consumption of our devices, data centers, and networks will jump from 7.4% of global electricity consumption in 2012 to between 7% and 12% by 2017.10
  14. 14. 03 14 02 Fiber optical background with light spots.
  15. 15. Greenpeace USA 15 Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet Section two 02 The transition to a clean energy economy is underway, driven by the increasingly competitive price of renewable electricity. Electricity is by far the biggest cost for data centers, and concerns about long-term energy costs, along with brand or customer driven concerns about the environmental impact of online services, is driving data center operators to consider renewable energy alongside energy efficiency as the core strategies for meeting their data center electricity needs. Among North American data center operators, 84% recently identified the need to consider renewable energy for meeting future energy needs.11 Evidence of Renewable Energy’s Recent Rise • 51,000 MW of wind was added globally in 2014 (a 44% increase over 2013).12 • Solar costs have fallen 80% globally since 2008.13 • Solar and wind provided 55% of new electricity generation capacity in the US during 2014.14 • China invested $90B USD in renewable energy in 2014, a 32% increase over 2013.15 Despite this dramatic growth in renewable energy, significantly higher levels of investment are needed if we are to transition away from fossil fuels in time to limit the amount of global warming to 2 degrees Celsius and avoid the worst effects of climate change. While global clean energy investment rebounded in 2014 to reach $310 billion in 2014,16 according to the IEA, clean energy investment levels need to exceed $500 billion annually by 2020, and double to $1 trillion each year by 2030, to keep us within the 2 degree envelope that scientists say is required to avoid catastrophic climate change.17 Unfortunately, it has become clear that most electric utilities are not leading this charge, so it is critical that large energy-consuming corporations step forward to help shift energy policy and increase the market demand for renewable energy to help close the gap. Renewable Power for the Cloud: Drivers and Barriers ©Dreamstime 2004 46% 46% 36% 32% 17% -7% -9% 16% 17% 0.5% $60bn $88bn $128bn $175bn $205bn $206bn $272bn $318bn $294bn $268bn $310bn $500bn $1Trillion 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2020 2030 Clean energy investment needed to address climate threat Historical data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, future estimated necessary investment from Ceres: “Investing in the Clean Trillion”
  16. 16. 16 Greenpeace USA 16 Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet Section two Key Renewable Energy Drivers (1) Government Renewable Goals Government goals for renewable energy have been a key driver of renewable energy in many parts of the world, providing the critical conditions to drive investment in real energy solutions. In many areas of the world, governments are now moving to strengthen such goals, with Germany as the biggest economy with ambitious renewable energy goals as it aims to power with 80% renewable energy by 2050 under the Energiewende, or German energy plan.31 Denmark also stands out for its ambitious plans; wind will produce half of its electricity by 2020, and by 2030 Denmark will phase out coal entirely.32 Highlights of IT sector renewable energy deals in 2014 and 2015 Although the US does not have a federal renewable portfolio standard (RPS), state level mandates have been a key driver for renewable energy growth in the US. In leading states, utilities are close to hitting or exceeding current targets, with higher targets now under discussion. In other parts of the US, however, RPS laws have been under regular attack by the fossil fuel industry, and utilities are resisting efforts to increase them further.33 Data center operators, many of which carry major influence with state and national policymakers, have a key opportunity to push for stronger mandates that will help them meet their renewable energy targets, while creating a greener grid for the broader public as well. US (Oregon) Apr 2014 Purchased micro-hydro project to power data center Benefits Addition of sustainable hydro to grid, as alternative to large scale hydro. US (Kansas) Oct 2014 Signs PPA for half of 48MW wind project to power Nebraska data center. Benefits Developed with community & local ranch. UK June 2014 Signed £440m power purchase agreements for wind energy, securing funding for construction of 2 new UK wind farms. Benefits Directly secured 100MW of new wind energy in the UK. US (Illinois) July 2014 Signed 20-year PPA for 175 MW of wind energy for Chicago data center. Benefits Drives wind energy investment in a region primarily powered by nuclear and coal. 18 19 20 21 22 Finland/Sweden Jan 2014 Contracted for output of 59 MW of wind energy for 10 years to cover the electricity consumption of Finland data center. Benefits Drives new wind project in the region rather than relying on old hydropower.
  17. 17. 17 Greenpeace USA Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet Section two (2) Private Sector Renewable Purchases & Investments Voluntary corporate purchases of renewable electricity have been a critical driver of renewable energy investment, particularly in parts of the US and EU that give some form of supplier choice to electricity customers. The decrease in renewable energy costs, projected increase of fossil fuel costs, and new innovations in renewable energy financing have all contributed to rapid growth in voluntary renewable energy purchases.34 Both federal and state renewable energy investment tax credits in the US have also played a major role in driving corporate investments in renewable electricity, though it appears that the US Congress may allow the tax credits to expire. IT companies continue to be a major driver in renewable energy deployment, and more and more companies are making major commitments to power their operations with renewable energy. US(Indiana) Jan 2015 Signed 150 MW wind power PPA for 13 years. Currently unclear which Amazon facility this deal will power. Denmark Feb 2015 Not finalized, but reaffirmed commitment to 100% RE. Benefits Waste heat delivered for residential heating to nearby town. US (Arizona) Feb 2015 Announces new data center, to be 100% powered by 70MW solar. Benefits Major solar deal with a utility that has been otherwise been hostile to solar development. 29 US (California) May 2015 $850M power purchase agreement for 130MW of solar power for HQ and CA data center. Benefits Helped to leverage additional 150MW as part of larger project. India Dec 2014 Wind power deal for India data center. Benefits Power is 11-13% cheaper than grid power 23 25 26 27 28 30 Netherlands Nov 2014 Purchased output of a new 62 MW Eneco wind farm near new E600m data center. Benefits Avoids using power from controversial new coal power plant being built by RWE in Eemshaven.24
  18. 18. 18 Greenpeace USA 18 Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet Section two Barriers to Renewable Energy: Monopoly Utilities While data center operators have been successful in purchasing renewable electricity in an increasing number of markets in the EU and US, the lack of access to renewable energy in key data center markets served by monopoly utilities remains a significant barrier to building a renewably powered internet. Many monopoly utility markets, such as North Carolina (Duke Energy), Virginia (Dominion Power) and Georgia (Southern Company) in the US, or Asian utilities such as Taipower in Taiwan, rely heavily on coal and other dirty generating capacity, with very little renewable energy in their generation mix. Although several utilities have recently enacted renewable energy tariff programs to address the desire for renewable electricity by large customers, most of these programs have not been embraced by data center operators due to their price design of always including a premium, rather than passing along cost savings from renewable sources. Ground Zero for the Dirty Internet: Dominion Energy (Virginia) Virginia remains the epicenter of data center growth in the US. Loudoun County, in Northern Virginia, boasts that up to 70% of global internet traffic passes through its borders on a daily basis.36 That amount of data traffic requires massive amounts of electricity, and most of it is generated by Dominion Resources, a utility that continues to rely almost exclusively on dirty sources of generation, and plans to well into the future. Dominion’s latest long-term plan that it submitted to regulators shows that it does not intend on making any significant increase in its investment in renewable energy over the next 15 years, and will continue to maintain a high reliance on coal.37 Dominion’s continued reliance on dirty sources of electricity presents a significant challenge to a number of major data center operators, particularly for Amazon and DuPont Fabros Technology, which have more than half of their data center operations based in Dominion territory.38 While commercial electricity customers in Virginia are technically able to opt out of Dominion’s service and choose a different supplier, Dominion makes this as painful as possible, denying the ability to return as a customer for five years. Dominion recently established Schedule RG, a pilot renewable tariff for large customers.39 But similar to Duke Energy’s program in North Carolina, no customers have yet chosen to take part in the program due to the price premium and risk allocation among parties.40 Data center operators evaluated in this report represent six of Dominion’s twenty largest customers in 2014.41 If these operators send a strong collective signal to Dominion and to policymakers in Virginia that they want to power their growth with renewable energy, it would be very difficult to ignore. 2% “Quite frankly, we are doing this because it is right to do, but you may also be interested to know that it’s good financially to do it. We expect to have a very significant savings because we have a fixed- price for the renewable energy, and there’s quite a difference between that price and the price of the brown energy. ”Tim Cook, Apple CEO35
  19. 19. 19 Greenpeace USA Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet Section two The persistence of the Dirty Data Triangle: Duke Energy (North Carolina) As a result of heavy recruitment by the monopoly utility Duke Energy, North Carolina has become home to some of the biggest and best-known data center operators, including Apple, Facebook, and Google. Duke Carolinas relies heavily on coal and other dirty generation, with very little planned in the way of renewable energy far into the future.42 However, since establishing operations in North Carolina, all three of these leading brands have committed to power their data centers with 100% renewable electricity. Achieving that goal represents a significant challenge, as Duke Energy only generates 2% of its electricity from renewable sources currently, and North Carolina law prevents customers from buying power from anyone other than Duke Energy. Duke’s goal for as far out as 2029 increases its renewable energy share to a mere 4%.43 Apple has taken the most direct approach to securing its renewable electricity supply by building three separate solar farms and on-site fuels cells. Facebook and Google focused on getting Duke to provide to large customers the option to buy renewable energy, which Duke ultimately agreed to do in 2013. While this appeared to be a breakthrough at the time, the design and price structure for the Green Rider Tariff imposed by Duke have been such a barrier that thus far no companies have agreed to purchase renewable energy under the program.44 Both Google and Facebook’s North Carolina data center operations have grown substantially in the past two years, with both now ranking among Duke Energy‘s 20 largest customers in 2014,45 but they currently lack a clear path for securing renewable energy. Legislators are making some efforts in North Carolina to increase the options for consumers to buy renewable energy from parties other than Duke.46 Taiwan Taiwan has long been a hub for the electronics manufacturing sector, but has recently been put on the data center map, most notably with the decision by Google to significantly expand its data center operations there.47 Taiwan presents an attractive option due to its proximity to China and the low electricity rates offered by Taiwan Power Company (Taipower), the monopoly electricity provider in Taiwan, which is 95% owned by the national government. Taipower offers very little renewable electricity however, with renewable sources accounting for only 4% of its generation mix, while fossil fuel represents 76%.48 Similar to monopoly utilities elsewhere in Asia and in parts of the US, customers are prohibited from buying electricity from anyone other than Taipower. Taipower has recently established a renewable energy tariff program, but like those created by Duke Energy and Dominion Power, it is designed with a built- in premium over current rates.49 The Taipower tariff also offers no assurances that it will actually result in additional renewable energy being added to the national grid. 2% 4% “When we decide to work in a certain location, we analyze the makeup of the energy content on the grid, and then we work with the power providers, and they all know, I can guarantee you, all of them know very well what our priorities are in terms of driving renewable energy onto the grid. This sometimes is in direct conflict with their current business, but we’ve made great strides. ”Joe Kava, Google VP of Data Centers.50
  20. 20. 20 Greenpeace USA 20 Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet Section two Barriers to Renewable Energy: Utilities undermining renewable energy polices European Union European data center hubs in countries like the Netherlands, UK and Germany continue to grow as companies aim to improve their services to customers in those markets. While some European countries, like Germany, offer electric grids with higher percentages of renewable energy than the US average, rapid movement toward 100% renewable energy in Europe is stymied by utilities, just as it has been in other regions. Between 2000 and 2008, the largest European utilities made huge investments in expanding conventional coal and gas plants and extending the lifetimes of Europe’s aging nuclear fleet. This strategy was based on assumptions of increasing electricity demand (which in fact hasn’t recovered since the 2008 financial crisis) and that renewable energy would not be a profitable investment.51 The investments have failed spectacularly, leading to losses in the EU utility sector of more than half a trillion euros.52 Instead of admitting past mistakes and making necessary strategic adjustments, major European utilities have chosen to blame the growth of renewable energy and supporting policies for their losses and asked for policy support to maintain profits from coal, gas and nuclear plants. In March 2014, 10 utilities including GDZ Suez, E.ON, RWE, Ibedrola, and Enel formed the Margritte Group53 to lobby against EU targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency. By contrast, the Netherlands’ Eneco has adopted the most progressive advocacy position of all European energy utilities by supporting specific and ambitious renewable energy and energy efficiency targets for the EU.54 Eneco agreed in 2014 to supply the national Dutch railway company NS with 100% wind energy by 2017, supplied by new wind farms mostly in the Netherlands and Belgium. Eneco also supplies wind power to large companies such as KPN and Belgacom.55 Companies like Apple and Google have been successful at sourcing renewable energy in Europe, but achieving broader progress toward a renewably powered internet will require breaking through utility barriers there. United States Faced with the rapid growth of distributed renewable energy, US utilities have sought to stem the growth at several levels, relying on trade associations to do their dirty work whenever possible. Edison Electric Institute (EEI) EEI represents the majority of investor owned utilities in the US, and has been sounding the alarm regarding the threat that distributed energy sources like rooftop solar poses to the profitability of the sector. EEI has embraced a strategy to slow the growth of distributed solar by urging state lawmakers and utility commissions to pursue policies that would increase its costs. Although EEI claims its attacks on solar power are motivated by concerns for ratepayers, EEI board documents56 show that utility executives were actually concerned about lost earnings, as the growth of distributed solar shrinks their customer base and obviates the need to build additional centralized generation capacity, which serve as a major source of their profits.57 While distributed renewable energy policies may have less immediate relevance to large-scale electricity consumers like data centers, EEI’s attacks on rooftop solar (and attacks by many of its member utilities) still present a major long-term barrier to IT companies’ ambitions to power their operations renewably. Any scenario for a 100% renewably powered grid involves a high degree of distribution; IT companies with commitments to be powered by renewable energy are best served by that type of progress, since it will close the amount of ground they need to cover to procure renewable energy beyond what’s offered by the grid. Facebook and others have acknowledged as much, noting that their goal is to green the entire grid, not just their own operations.58 EEI’s attacks on distributed renewable energy undermine that goal.
  21. 21. 21 Greenpeace USA Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet Section two American Legislative Exchange Council [ALEC] ALEC is actively collaborating with many of the nation’s worst polluters to kill clean energy and climate policies around the country. In 2013, ALEC pushed model legislation to repeal renewable energy portfolio standards in over a dozen states, failing across the board. The group’s 2014-15 agenda included continued assaults on renewable energy laws, plus a new effort to attack net metering policies, which encourage the growth of decentralized solar energy by allowing solar customers to be fairly compensated for extra electricity they sell back to the grid. ALEC is also targeting the Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to limit global warming pollution from coal-fired power plants.59 To the IT sector’s credit, in response to stakeholder pressure and their own growing disenchantment with ALEC’s positions attacking renewable energy and climate change science, most major IT companies finally withdrew their affiliation with ALEC in the past year,60 including Ebay, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. Policy Advocacy: Tech Companies vs Utilities The utility sector is currently undergoing huge changes, as both large-scale renewable installations and distributed generation from rooftop solar are rapidly upending long- held assumptions of steadily rising electricity demand and the lack of profitability from renewable electricity. Exactly what a successful, modern utility business model will look like is not entirely clear to many utilities. While utilities are certainly not going to disappear overnight, the rapid change in the marketplace has many utilities looking for ways to slow down the renewable energy revolution so they can have time to adapt, rather than following in the footsteps of landline telecommunications companies. Recognizing that most electricity markets are not moving fast enough to meet their ambition for increasing amounts of renewable electricity, a number of leading data center operators have become active in letting regulators and utility decision-makers know that they support greater investment in renewable energy, and want better options from the market to allow them to buy it.61 Companies should not limit their support for renewable energy solely to increasing their options to purchase renewable energy for themselves. Supporting the policies to deliver a grid that is designed to support a diversity of renewable energy sources from a much broader range of generators is in the interest of all classes of customers, both in terms of long-term cost and energy security. Greening the broader grid will take time, but it is critical that companies who want affordable renewable electricity work together with consumers to deliver the policy changes needed to drive this transition. Internet companies and grassroots activists have recently worked together to great success in the US and elsewhere to secure policies to protect “net neutrality,” over the objections of another once seemingly mighty monopoly utility class in the telecommunications sector. We need an electricity grid that makes renewable energy available for everyone, not just those users who can afford a “clean lane” of electricity, and we need internet operators to become much more active in legislative and regulatory decision-making to overcome the strategy of utilities to maintain the dirty energy status quo. IT Companies That Have Left ALEC 20142012 Sept22 Sept24 Sept24 Aug 19 M ay 24 D ec 19
  22. 22. 03 22 03 Server rack cluster in a data center
  23. 23. ©Dreamstime Greenpeace USA 23 Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet Section three 03Road Map to a Green Internet When considering how to power a data center with renewable energy, it is often difficult for data center operators or customers to identify where to begin and which pathways will be most impactful. While the options available can vary dramatically for any one particular site based on the energy policy and market conditions of the jurisdiction, the following roadmap provides an updated look at best practices in the sector, and offers guidance for developing a successful long-term roadmap. 1) Energy Transparency Customers need clear, reliable data to evaluate the environmental performance and carbon footprint of their IT vendors and suppliers.There has been a significant improvement in transparency among leading companies in the past three years, and general improvement across a broader segment of the sector. But many major internet companies, most notably Amazon Web Services, continue to refuse to provide even the most basic information on their energy and carbon footprint. The lack of transparency from Amazon and others makes it impossible for both individual and corporate consumers who value sustainability to effectively benchmark their options. To evaluate a company’s progress toward becoming 100% renewably powered, two levels of detail are essential: (a) baseline data on annual energy consumption, energy mix and greenhouse gas emissions, including location-specific information for all significant facilities, and (b) details on the nature of any on-site generation or market purchases of electricity made directly or on the company’s behalf. While there are a number of energy performance metrics that have been developed specifically for data center operators, few operators have moved beyond the adoption of Power Utilization Effectiveness (PUE), which does not provide any insight into the environmental impact of a data center. The level of reporting of market-based renewable electricity purchases has varied widely, and often does not reflect the actual impact of what has been purchased. However, the recent Scope 2 Guidance update to the WRI/ WBCSD Greenhouse Gas Protocol will hopefully drive more consistent and transparent reporting of electricity data.62 The updated Scope 2 Guidance includes a new requirement for dual reporting of (1) the energy mix associated with the local grid; (2) details on what market- based purchases of electricity have been utilized, including details on the resource type of the supplying facility, facility location, and facility age.Screenshot from Facebook’s page detailing its carbon and energy impact. Total Energy Use 822M kWh (2013) Total Energy Use 822M kWh Office Spaces and Other Facilities 35M kWh Data Centers 787M kWh Energy Mix Coal 34% Natural Gas 17%Uncategorized 12% Clean & Renewable 14% Nuclear 23% 226 kWh East Coast Colocation Facility 225 kWh Forest City, NC53 kWh Luleá, Sweden0.36 kWh Altcona, IA 58 kWh West Coast Colocation Facility 224 kWh Prineville, OR Data Centers kWh = kilowatt hours MT = metric tons CO2 e = carbon dioxide equivalent which includes greenhouse gases CO2 , CH2 , N2 O, and HFCs. *All numbers are rounded
  24. 24. 24 Greenpeace USA 24 Section three Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet Right Turns: -Apple, for publishing: • Facility level-detail on energy consumption. • Impact associated with its on-site renewable energy deployments and market purchases. Wrong Turns: Amazon Web Services—for providing only partial details on its renewable energy purchases, but no details on its underlying energy footprint. Without knowing the details of Amazon’s energy footprint, it’s difficult for customers to take its recent commitment to 100% renewable energy63 seriously. Amazon is one of the last large IT companies not to disclose any information about its energy use or carbon footprint. 2) Renewable Commitment & Siting/Procurement Policy The number of companies that have made a commitment to be 100% renewably powered jumped again in the past year, both inside and outside the data center sector. These long-term commitments send a powerful signal to the marketplace that greater access to renewable energy and the desire to grow sustainably is of growing importance to the business sector, and is only increasing. Given the significant growth in energy demand among data center operators, these commitments tell current and potential electric utilities that if they want to do business with renewable energy-committed companies, they must be able to offer a renewable product. To ensure such commitments have the intended impact in the market, long-term commitments by data center operators should also include: (1) adequate energy transparency [see Energy Transparency, page 23]; (2) interim targets & a renewable energy strategy to ensure companies are maximizing their impact [see Strategy for Increasing Renewable Energy Supply, page 25]; (3) a siting policy that includes access to renewable energy. Location matters: Site selection is a critical decision for determining at least the near-term sustainability of a facility, whether a company is building or renting data center space. What options are available to manage a facility’s energy footprint are heavily impacted by location, with the ability to leverage outside air cooling and access to renewable electricity the most significant factors.64 Companies have the greatest amount of leverage with local utilities and policymakers prior to committing to a new location or expansion of a facility, and they can use that leverage to secure the necessary access to renewable energy, or tax incentives to help defray any additional costs for securing renewable energy. Right Turns: • Apple and Google negotiated to ensure recent data center expansions in Arizona and the Netherlands respectively will be powered by renewable energy from nearby projects as soon as the facilities come online. • Facebook developed an interim goal for its 100% renewable energy commitment, with an aim to be 25% renewably powered by end of 2015, and is set to meet that benchmark.65 Wrong Turns: Amazon Web Service’s plans to build yet another data center in fossil fuel dependent Virginia were revealed in early 2015, with no evidence that the company will purchase renewable energy for its operation.66 Microsoft similarly announced a significant expansion of data center operations in Virginia in 2014 with an expansion of its data center in Boydton and a significant sublease of wholesale colocation space from Yahoo.67
  25. 25. 25 Greenpeace USA Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet Section three 3) Energy Efficiency & Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Significant improvements in data center design to reduce cooling costs and improve utilization of data center compute resources have been a key factor in curbing the rapid growth in energy demand of the sector to date, though much more widespread adoption of best practices is certainly needed. The Open Compute collaboration has played an important role in sharing energy efficient data center and server design, and further innovations in energy savings and compute utilization must continue to accelerate if a renewably powered internet is to be realized. In addition to best practices, data center operators and customers should regularly report their energy performance and establish transparent energy savings targets. Right Turns: Akamai’s energy performance target for delivered data, on which it updates performance regularly. Wrong Turns: Microsoft’s shift away from its previous energy intensity goal to carbon neutrality claims, which it meets only by the purchase of carbon offsets. 4) Strategy for Increasing Renewable Electricity Supply Transitioning our online world to being 100% renewably powered will certainly not happen overnight. Though it is possible in some markets for a company to write a check for enough paper renewable energy credits to allow it to claim to be a 100% renewable company, such claims are in name only, and unlikely to have any impact on the supply of electricity powering its facilities. Those companies interested in actually changing their electricity supply and supporting more green electricity on the grid for everyone must avoid such shortcuts. To help companies resist an increasing array of tempting renewable energy “solutions” that are being offered to data center operators, they should adhere to three key principles in evaluating options for securing a renewable supply of electricity: 1) Additionality Internet companies should ensure that their renewable electricity commitment is directed in a way that it will have real impact, supporting the addition of new renewable electricity onto the grid that displaces dirty electricity demand. Unbundled renewable energy credits do not drive new renewable energy development. 2) Sustainable Sources The definition of renewable electricity varies slightly depending on the country or state. Companies should ensure the source of renewable electricity is truly renewable (see Is It Green?, page 26), and provide details about what it considers renewable to customers and stakeholders. 3) Local Related to the additionality principle, companies should work to have their renewable electricity supply come from as local a source as feasible, to drive greater investment in renewable energy by utilities in the same area of the grid in which a company’s facilities have added demand, in order to displace demand from local fossil generation sources. Leading companies such as Apple and Google have established purchasing and policy design principles to guide their own company’s path toward 100% renewable electricity. Right Turns: Both Google and Apple document in detail their commitment to using additional energy that displaces dirty sources from the same grids from which they have demand.68,69. Apple has aggressively pursued its strategy across its operations, managing to pursue local, additional and renewable energy across its full data center footprint. Wrong Turns: While Microsoft has procured renewable energy on the same grid as two of its data centers via power purchase agreements for wind energy, it continues to rely on unbundled renewable energy credits (RECs) and carbon offsets to support its claim of carbon neutrality.70 Amazon has provided no evidence for how its “carbon neutral” claims for its data centers in Oregon or Germany are additional or local.71
  26. 26. 2626 Nuclear Nuclear power plants create unacceptable risk to the environment and human health and are an expensive diversion from the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency required to stave off the worst impacts of global warming. Efforts to revive the nuclear industry in the US have largely failed due to the impossibly high costs of building and maintaining nuclear power plants – that money is best spent on renewable sources of power.72 Hydropower Hydropower is the most established baseload clean energy source. Sourcing energy for a data center from existing hydropower reduces carbon emissions and is more environmentally friendly than powering from a predominantly coal, gas, or nuclear powered grid. However, using existing hydropower does not lead to investment in new renewable energy capacity, and large hydropower projects can have detrimental effects on local environments. In many parts of the US, existing hydropower is fully subscribed, which means that increasing demand in hydropower-heavy grids could ultimately lead to new fossil fuel investment if companies do not demand renewable energy. Well-planned and managed small-scale or microhydro power projects have much less impact on river ecosystems, and have the potential to provide a scalable baseload power source for data centers. Geothermal Geothermal energy is a consistent and renewable source of power in areas of the world where it can be found. It provides significant and growing electric generation in countries like the US, Iceland, and Indonesia. In 2014, 620MW of new geothermal power were added globally, with developing countries like Kenya and the Philippines leading the way.73 Biogas Biogas can come from many sources; methane from landfill sites and anaerobic digestion of farm waste or sewage sludge are the most common. The environmental benefits of biogas vary widely depending on the source. Biomass Large-scale biomass used for electricity generation can create significant environmental problems, as the source of biomass is likely to come from unsustainable sources. Wood pellets from the southeast US are currently being shipped to the UK and other parts of the EU, simultaneously driving deforestation and undermining climate protection goals in both countries.74 Fuel cells A small but increasing number of data center companies are deploying natural gas-powered fuel cells on site as both primary and backup power supplies. Fuel cells can be a good mitigation strategy when used as a primary power source to unplug a data center from a coal-fired grid. Nonetheless, natural gas is not a renewable energy source, even when used in fuel cells. Is it green? Section three Greenpeace USA Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet
  27. 27. 27
  28. 28. 03 Optical Patch panel in a data center for Cloud Services. 28 04
  29. 29. ©Dreamstime Greenpeace USA 29 Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet Section four 04Powering Data Centers with Renewable Energy: A User Manual As companies increasingly recognize the financial, environmental and reputational benefits of powering their digital operations with renewable energy, they face a range of different options for how to procure electricity from renewable sources: some companies are buying wind energy via long-term contracts, while others are installing solar farms on or near their property. Some companies have subscribed to a utility green tariff program, while others are lobbying regulators for more options. These and other options have different impacts, offer different benefits, and are not mutually exclusive. The right course depends on the details of a company’s footprint, and should keep fidelity to the principles of additionality, attachment to local demand, and sustainability as described above. (A) Market Solutions (1) On-site investment On-site or near-site deployments of renewable energy are the most straightforward to assess for their impact, since on-site renewable energy investments are inherently additional and local. However, given the energy density of data centers, on-site renewable installations such as solar may only be able to provide a small percentage of the total facility power demand. Apple has led the charge in deploying on-site or nearby renewable energy investments, but other data center operators are increasingly exploring on-site renewable energy as utilities continue to drag their feet in providing renewable energy. On-site or near-site renewable developments also send an unambiguous signal to power companies that they risk losing their customers’ money if they do not respond to their demands, giving teeth to customers’ demands for a greener offering. (2) Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) Secure, long-term (10-20 year) power purchase or utility contracts between leading data center companies and renewable energy developers have served as an important engine in financing new renewable energy projects, particularly in the US. By providing a guaranteed buyer of both the underlying electricity and the renewable electricity credits (“bundled” renewable electricity), the data center operator serves as a committed and credit worthy offtaker, or purchaser of the energy. This commitment allows the energy developer to secure financing, driving additional renewable development. For the data center operator, long term PPAs can deliver a guaranteed price of electricity, providing protection against future increases in the price of traditional grid power. Virtual PPAs It is possible to enter into a “Virtual” or “Synthetic” PPA that does not require the actual delivery of electricity to the buyer; instead, the electricity is resold to the open market, with the buyer keeping any underlying RECs, which can then be retired. If a company executes a virtual PPA in the same electricity market in which it operates a data center, then a virtual PPA can still be a credible way to add renewable energy and displace demand for dirty energy on the same grid. (3) REC & GOO Only Purchases Renewable energy credits (RECs) - or their European equivalent, guarantees of origin (GOOs) - are products created when renewable energy is generated, used to confer the environmental attributes of the renewable energy to the REC owner. In many markets, companies can buy and sell these credits, unbundled from the electricity itself.
  30. 30. 30 Greenpeace USA 30 Section four Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet There have been a flood of RECs onto the market in both the US and the EU, driving the price of renewable credits not needed for compliance purposes to record lows. Many of these credits originate from projects that have been in existence for many years, and the minimal additional revenue generated from their sale does little to drive additional renewable generation capacity, or displace demand for dirty sources of electricity. Due to the lack of impact in displacing fossil fuel generated electricity from the grid, and the lack of any benefit in the form of a hedge against rising electricity prices to the buyer, most IT companies have shifted away from pursuing unbundled REC products as a central strategy, and shifted to more impactful approaches. The voluntary unbundled REC market stopped growing for the first time in 2014, so customers broadly may be moving away from these low- impact products as higher-impact renewable options with greater upside become cheaper by the year.75 There are notable exceptions in the IT sector, however, most notably Intel and Microsoft, which continue to rely primarily on buying large amounts of unbundled RECs and GOOs to allow them to claim to be 100% renewable powered, and in the case of Microsoft, “carbon neutral.” While this strategy does earn Microsoft and Intel top spots in the US EPA’s Green Power Partner rankings,76 the electricity the companies actually buy is mostly whatever electricity mix is available from the local grid. As illustrated by Microsoft, which recently expanded its data center operations in both Virginia (37% coal, 2% renewable) and Wyoming (64% Coal, 8% renewable), the PR value to the company would appear to be their strategy’s greatest impact.77 If companies do buy unbundled REC/GOOs, they should at a bare minimum buy RECs that demonstrate strong additionality, and are in close proximity to the facilities they wish to claim are renewable. Before doing so, they should also evaluate what opportunities there may be to make more direct investments in renewable energy or push utility and government policymakers to add more renewable energy to the grid and increase the options for customers of all classes to have the ability to choose a clean electricity supply. (4) Utility Choice /Direct Access Many markets in the EU and US have full retail choice in terms of electricity supplier, allowing the data center operator to choose from a range of electricity providers and products. In the US, Direct Access (DA) programs exist where the market is not fully deregulated at the retail level, but DA allows a customer to purchase electricity from an electricity supplier other than the local utility, potentially creating stronger options for securing a renewable electricity supply. Direct Access is not available in every jurisdiction, and is often restricted to a small number of customers (California) or has a limited number of eligible providers (Oregon). 5) Utility Green Energy Tariffs Data center operators aiming to procure renewable energy might prefer to have electric utilities simply offer them a 100% renewable energy product, avoiding some of the transactional costs of third-party deals, as well as the obstacle that such deals aren’t legal in many countries and US states.78 Within the last three years, utilities have begun to respond to that demand by offering what are commonly known as “green tariffs,” or rate structures that sell 100% renewable energy to large customers. Some kind of green tariff program was available in at least 10 states as of August, 2014.79 The IT sector was instrumental in catalyzing these tariffs,80 with Google publishing a white paper outlining what it wanted to see in a successful tariff, but as utilities have started making these offerings, the results have been a mixed bag at best. In Nevada, Apple helped develop NV Energy’s GreenEnergy Rider, which it used to co-develop with the utility an 18-20 MW solar array.81 The Nevada Rider’s rate features no additional administrative fees and is designed to reflect the cost of the renewable resource.82 In Arizona, an experimental renewable energy tariff offered by the utility Arizona Public Service (APS) contains some premiums and other stumbling blocks for customers,83 but at least has found a data center customer in IO, a colocation company which was able to procure renewable energy from APS for its customers with no additional mark-up. APS officials said the deal helped keep IO as a customer.84
  31. 31. 31 Greenpeace USA Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet Section four Unfortunately, the Apple and IO examples have been more the exception than the rule, as it has seemed that most utilities’ green tariff options have not reflected what large customers have said they want and need. In the places where green tariffs have the most potential to help companies clean up their electricity supply – monopoly utility markets like North Carolina, Virginia and Taiwan – they have been ineffectual. Duke Energy (North Carolina) and Dominion (Virginia) have yet to sign up a customer for their programs.85 The lack of interest should not be surprising given that neither program was designed to meet customers’ interests. Google’s 2013 paper calling for green tariff options suggested that “costs associated with the procurement and delivery of renewable energy should be passed on to participating customers at a rate reflecting the actual cost of service.”86 Instead, both Duke and Dominion’s programs charge significant “administrative fees” on top of any incremental costs of renewable energy generation. Dominion charges an additional .006 or .007 cents/kWh, with Duke charging even more, at .02 cents/kWh.87 On top of the premiums, Dominion’s offering for individual customers is capped at 24,000 MWh per year; for perspective, Apple’s solar and fuel cell installations at its North Carolina data center generated seven times that amount of electricity in 2013.88 Many single data centers in Dominion’s territory demand far more energy than that cap, meaning that customers can’t take full advantage of economies of scale by pursuing larger renewable energy deals. B) Clean Energy Advocacy In many markets, companies’ ability to power with renewable energy will remain severely limited without policy changes. Even in more liberalized markets, it behooves companies to advocate for policies that will green the broader grid, narrowing the ground that they need to cover to power with 100% renewable energy. Companies can and must become advocates with the regulators and policymakers who ultimately have the power to change markets in ways that will allow companies to achieve their renewable energy goals. State policymakers covet data center investments, offering significant tax incentives to companies to lure them into their borders.89 Companies could compel a similar race to the top on renewable energy. Some companies have begun to exercise their political and market clout to demand more and better renewable energy options and policies: • Facebook and Microsoft advocated on behalf of distributed energy generation to the Iowa Utilities Board in 2014.90 • Google submitted strongly pro-renewable energy comments to the EPA in response to its Clean Power Plan in 2014, even calling for EPA to increase its “modest” and “conservative” renewable energy goals.91 • Major electricity consuming companies banded together in 2014 to form the “Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles” which call on regulators and utilities to expand access and options for corporations to pursue renewable energy. IT companies that signed the principles include Facebook, eBay, Cisco, Adobe, EMC2, io, Salesforce, Yahoo and Intel.92
  32. 32. 32 3332 24 Start Do you Want to Make Your Corner of the Internet Green? 22 25 31 31.5 16 2 3 26 32 29 13 17 27 30 9 10 12 18 23 or 11 20 28 19 or21 Commit to a goal of powering with 100% renewable energy. To ensure new growth is green… If you’re expanding your colocation footprint… Establish a siting policy requiring access to renewable energy If you own your data center… Can you buy renewable energy directly from a developer via a PPA or virtual PPA? Can you provide your own renewable energy via an on-site installation? LOBBY POLICY- MAKERS to change the rules to allow you better options to procure renewable energy, approaching them jointly with allied companies if necessary. If no...Establish a procurement policy for providers to offer access to renewable energy. Set energy efficiency performance targets and publish the results. If yes... If no... Simply purchasing unbundled RECs? If you own the data center, get energy data from the utility. To ensure existing infrastructure is green… Determine how clean your cloud is right now (electricity use, energy supply and carbon data). If in colocation facilities, get energy data from colocation providers. If in the cloud, request energy data from cloud providers. For footprint with cloud computing providers For footprint in colocation space For footprint in owned data centers My provider refuses to tell me energy data, or let me disclose it. Switch providers. Others may be more cooperative. Find allies. Approach provider jointly with peer customers to increase pressure. STOP. RECs don’t make your corner of the internet greener, and aren’t a good primary strategy. Identify options for a better strategy. If you’re in colocation data centers or in the cloud… Will your colocation or cloud vendor provide you with renewable energy? Can you switch to a region from your provider that’s powered by 100% renewable energy? a PPA or virtual PPA? Can you procure 100% renewable energy from the utility? PUBLISH your GOALS, STRATEGY and SUCCESSES to customers as you make progress. REFINE with interim goals and benchmarks. Choose your STRATEGIES to become renewably powered. If you’re expanding your footprint in the cloud… If yes...STOP 5 6 7 8 4 For new data centers you will build and own… Road Map for Companies: How to Green Your Corner of the Internet
  33. 33. 3434 Unfortunately these examples are still limited, as companies are not using their political clout to the extent that they have to lobby for tax breaks. Especially in the places where utilities present the most difficult obstacles to renewable energy – markets like North Carolina, Virginia, or Taiwan – IT companies have yet to weigh in with policymakers to the degree necessary to create significant change. Opportunities abound for companies to push for pro-renewable energy policies: • In North Carolina, many of the same legislators currently aiming to offer data center operators tax breaks on electricity sales93 are also weighing a bill that would allow customers the ability to buy renewable energy from third parties other than local monopoly utility Duke Energy.94 The state is one of only five in which the practice, considered crucial to renewable energy expansion, is expressly illegal.95 Data center companies that are committed to renewable energy and have been unable to procure it from Duke Energy, like Facebook and Google, could benefit from the passage of third-party sales legislation. State tax incentives for renewable energy, which could materially benefit data center operators in the state that wish to install on-site solar power as Apple has done, are also set to expire at the end of 2015.95 • In California, legislators are submitting bills to increase the state’s renewable energy portfolio to 50% by 2030.97 Many IT companies have headquarters in the state, or Santa Clara-area data centers, which give them standing to advocate for these policies that will help them become more renewably powered. • Virginia, which hosts one of the most concentrated data center hubs in the world, currently prohibits customers from making third-party power purchase agreements for over 1 MW of electricity.98 The cap, instituted as part of a settlement by Dominion Energy, makes even this pilot program allowing PPAs essentially useless for large electricity customers like data centers. The program is up for review in 2015 by the State Corporation Commission, and data center companies like Amazon and Equinix that are committed to renewable energy could use the opportunity to weigh in on behalf of a PPA program that allowed them to pursue renewable energy. • In Oregon, another data center hub, legislators have introduced a bill to eliminate the coal-fired electricity that forms roughly one-third of the state’s electricity mix and replace it with renewable power.99 While some of Oregon’s data centers are powered by hydroelectric power, which can make the state a better choice than coal-fired locations like Virginia, power demand in the Northwest has finally exceeded the limits of the region’s hydropower.100 The region’s growing data center sector is driving power demand growth, and new tax breaks to welcome data centers have companies like Amazon saying that it will build as many as 11 new data centers in the state.101 This new electricity demand will be met by either renewable resources or fossil fuels (most likely gas power) and data center companies that are committed to renewable energy have the opportunity to lobby aggressively for policies that will make it easier for them to meet their goals. Greenpeace USA Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet Section four
  34. 34. Colocation Operators: The Landlords of the Internet While the data centers of the major internet and cloud companies generally get the greatest attention from the public, a major chunk of the internet is hosted by “colocation” data center operators, which serve as the digital landlords of our online world. Most colocation companies, even the largest, are not well known outside the data center sector, though electric utilities are keenly aware of their large electricity needs. Given the significant percentage of our online world that is hosted by either retail or wholesale colocation providers, colocation data center operators have a critical role in building a renewable powered digital world. But as a class of data center operators, colocation companies have thus far lagged far behind consumer-facing brands in efforts to deliver energy efficient and renewably powered data centers. This has begun to change in the past year, as colocation customers both large and small have begun to make commitments to be renewable powered, demanding the ability to power their servers with renewable electricity. The recent commitment by retail colocation giant Equinix to become renewably powered,102 and its related announcement that it would begin offering meaningful renewable energy options to customers marks a significant shift. But other companies have only begun to realize that not having any renewable offerings will soon become a significant competitive disadvantage. Additional signs of change among colocation data center operators include: • In response to customer demand, IO worked to get a special renewable tariff from the local utility for its Phoenix data center by aggregating customer demand and offering renewable electricity on a pass through basis with no premium beyond the cost of the energy resource.103 • Wholesale colocation giant Digital Realty Trust established a renewable electricity offering, with a year’s worth of free renewable energy credits (RECs) as a way to entice customers to sign a new lease.104 However, simply providing unbundled RECs or facilitating their purchase is not an impactful option or enticement for those companies who want to legitimately power their operations with renewable electricity in a way that meaningfully improves their electricity supply. Digital Realty Trust should expand its menu and help facilitate more impactful purchases of renewable electricity for its customers. Rather than offer to facilitate unbundled REC purchases for customers that provide little value or impact, Digital Realty Trust and other major colocation operators should prioritize efforts to aggregate customer demand and offer bundled, additional renewable energy to customers for their campuses where renewable energy is easiest to procure now. For operations in regulated monopoly markets where no value-added renewable energy options exist, colo operators should work in partnership with interested customers and other data center operators to lobby utilities, regulators, and legislators as necessary to open the market to renewable electricity providers. Northern Virginia, a major colocation data center hub where the energy mix is overwhelmingly powered by fossil fuels, provides an excellent test case for colocation companies to collaborate with their customers to bring more renewable energy to their operations and the broader electricity grid. Greenpeace USA Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet Section four 35
  35. 35. 36 3736 Your Online World: Green IRL, or #dirty? While the companies assessed in this report own or operate their own data centers, most companies either rent server space in colocation facilities, host their operations with cloud computing vendors and content delivery networks, and many employ some combination of these options. Outside of the colocation companies, no company could do more to make our favorite sites green than Amazon Web Services. AWS is the dominant player in cloud computing, owning over one fourth of the market by one estimate, over triple the market share of Microsoft, its nearest competitor.105 AWS customers should push the company to become more transparent about its energy footprint, and to make clear what strategies and principles it is using to reach its 100% renewable energy goal, particularly in its dirtiest regions, like Virginia. While these customers may not operate the mega data centers that Google, Amazon and Microsoft do, their role in building a greener internet is just as important. Data center operators and cloud computing vendors will prioritize powering with renewable energy only when their customers demand it, and those customers need to step up to the challenge. The graphic on this page offers a sampling of where some of the internet’s most popular sites and services are being hosted – and the relative greenness of the energy that those data centers are using. Energy demand symbols are not drawn to scale and are meant to offer a relative indication. Amazon Web Services Digital Realty Dupont Fabros Ebay Google Facebook Oracle HP Yahoo IBM Microsoft Apple Salesforce Rackspace Equinix Telecity
  36. 36. 03 3838 Clean Energy Index Methodology (Column 2) Greenpeace has established the Clean Energy Index as a response to the lack of useful metrics and publicly available data to evaluate and compare the energy footprints of major cloud providers and their respective data centers. This lack of data is not due to the fact that data does not exist. However, many companies remain unwilling to provide basic information about both the amount and source of their growing electricity consumption. Despite a proliferation of metrics created by the industry (such as PUE) that attempt to quantify how green a data center is as measured by energy efficiency, very few companies report under newer metrics (such as Green Energy Coefficient, GEC) that could shed any light on the basic question: how much dirty energy is being used, and which companies are choosing clean energy to power the cloud? The Clean Energy Index attempts to provide a basic answer to this question, based on what is provided by companies or gleaned from the limited information available, and focusing on recent data center investments of select brands and the current clean energy supply associated with each investment. Starting with an initial set of some of the largest cloud providers, Greenpeace has attempted to identify two main inputs from a representative sample of their most recent (five years or less) infrastructure investments. Those inputs are: (1) Estimated size of electricity demand of each facility (in megawatts); (2) Amount of renewable electricity being used to power it (by percentage). This information is then used to approximate, initially on a facility level, the number of megawatts of clean energy the facility will consume. Having calculated a facility-level Clean Energy Index for a representative sample of data centers, Greenpeace derives a company average of clean energy percentage across its facilities. In compiling the information included in this report, Greenpeace contacted all companies featured here and asked for information regarding their data center facilities, and for information on their energy commitment and infrastructure siting, energy efficiency and mitigation efforts, and renewable energy deployment and advocacy. Where clear and consistent information is not provided by the company, Greenpeace made estimates of data center power demand available to companies for comment in advance of publication, and issues raised by the companies are highlighted in footnotes on the scorecard. The above inputs are taken from the following sources: • Submissions by companies directly to Greenpeace • Public submissions by companies to reporting entities or stakeholder publications • As defined by company when announcing investments • As reported by the media (in stories on the investments or construction of facilities, etc.) • Electricity demand is derived by taking the announced size of investment and deriving total number of MW, using industry average cost per IT load ($15m U.S. dollars per MW) multiplied by publicly available PUE for facility or, if not available, 1.5 for new facilities. • For Amazon Web Services, which does not report any energy information on its data centers, Greenpeace estimated facility capacity using a combination of publicly reported investment data, backup generator permits filed with state or national regulators, and independent estimates of Amazon’s EC2 servers counts by region, found here: http://huanliu.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/ amazon-ec2-grows-62-in-2-years/ • When using backup generator permits, Greenpeace made conservative assumptions regarding the total power the generators are needed to cover, as well as the number of generators deployed for redundancy. • If not reported by the company, the generation mix of the electricity is taken from one of the following sources, as available, in declining order of preference: • The most recent published generation mix of the local utility • In the U.S., the 2010 eGrid State level generation mix (9th Edition) as reported by U.S. EPA, or if not applicable, reported subregional egrid generation mix • Outside the U.S., national data, then European Commission data, and then International Energy Agency 2010 - 2012 statistics. Important Note: This analysis does not attempt to represent itself as a comprehensive snapshot of how much clean energy is being consumed on a company-wide level. Only the companies can properly provide that. Greenpeace would welcome the opportunity to incorporate more detailed data to inform our analysis, as that would likely provide a more complete and refined picture of cloud providers’ energy use. As companies provide better data, Greenpeace will incorporate this into our evaluation and encourage other companies to follow. For those companies who have adopted 100% renewable energy targets and provide facility level energy details, Greenpeace uses current consumption and renewable procurement data provided by the company instead of ultimate facility capacity. Coal, Nuclear and Gas Intensity (Column 3) A company’s coal intensity is a simple calculation of the approximate total percentage of coal-generated electricity powering the company’s data centers. A company’s nuclear and gas intensities are similar: simple calculations of the approximate total percentages of nuclear- and gas- generated electricity powering the company’s data centers. Appendix 1 Methodology
  37. 37. 3939 Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet Greenpeace USA Appendix 1 This is calculated initially on a facility level, based on the estimated maximum power demand of the facility and the percentage of coal and nuclear-generated electricity supplied by the contracting utility or the local grid. The company-level intensity of coal, nuclear and gas energy is rendered by adding the total MW of estimated maximum power from coal, nuclear and gas generation across the sample data center fleet, divided by the total estimated MW maximum power demand of the same sample data centers. Energy transparency methodology (Column 4) Companies are evaluated on the scope and level of detail made publicly available on energy consumption of IT infrastructure that allow stakeholders and customers to evaluate the energy-related environmental performance and impact at corporate, product, and facility level. Public information includes information from a company’s website, annual reports, submissions to regulatory agencies or information clearinghouses such as the CDP. • For corporate and facility-level reporting, key elements of information include: location and size of facilities; size of electricity demand; generation mix and associated carbon content (including power purchase agreements specific to the facility), and carbon intensity of data delivery and storage. Reporting should include both owned and rented facilities. • For customer level reporting, companies should provide regular energy and carbon footprint information (pre- offset) associated with the customers’ consumption, reported in a manner consistent with established reporting protocols. Renewable Energy Commitment & Infrastructure Siting methodology (Column 5) Companies are assessed on the strength of their commitment to powering their data centers with renewable energy, including infrastructure siting criteria and investment decisions that enable the development of the company’s IT infrastructure to maximize the use of clean sources of energy, and avoid an increase in demand for coal or nuclear power to meet the growing demand for electricity from their operations. High scoring companies demonstrate: • Adoption of a 100% renewable energy commitment • Renewable energy procurement guidelines that prioritize high impact methods of powering with renewable energy that demonstrate additionality, proximity to demand, and sustainability, as opposed to purchase of unbundled renewable energy credits or carbon offsets. • A clean energy siting policy to prioritize IT infrastructure investments or procurements that rely primarily upon renewable energy as a source of electricity and discriminate against coal and nuclear power to meet infrastructure electricity demand. • Consistent patterns of major infrastructure investment decisions that increase or shift electricity demand to renewable sources of electricity. • Commitment to eliminate coal, nuclear and gas energy from powering company infrastructure. Energy Efficiency & GHG Mitigation Strategy methodology (Column 6) Companies are evaluated on the strength of their strategies and measurable progress to mitigate the demand for dirty energy generated by their IT infrastructure. The effectiveness and strength of a company’s mitigation strategy is measured along the following guidelines: • Companies with absolute emission reduction goals will be rated higher than those companies who adopt an intensity-based target. • Companies are credited for participating in open-source sharing of energy efficient design and equipment specification to enable further learning & improvement within sector. Renewable Energy Deployment & Political Advocacy methodology (Column 7) Companies are evaluated on the strength of their measurable progress and commitment to renewable energy investments, as well as actions taken to advocate for ambitious policies at all levels of government that encourage wide-scale renewable energy generation and use. In reporting their renewable procurement, companies should follow the guidance established in the recently adopted Scope 2 Guidance of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, which established clear reporting requirements for reporting market based purchasing of renewable electricity. High scoring companies also demonstrate: • Efforts to meet electricity demand with the direct installation of renewable energy, and reduce emissions through higher efficiency will receive the highest marks. • Investments in clean energy supply and local energy efficiency mechanisms. Greenpeace ranks those investments higher than the purchase of offsets and renewable energy credits to reach established environmental goals. • Proof of long term commitment to renewable energy electricity through local renewable energy developers.
  38. 38. 4040 Akamai is one the largest global content distribution networks (CDN), helping online content providers deliver their content faster to users around the world. Akamai continues to expand with the rest of the internet, delivering between 15% and 30% of internet traffic through its network. As a CDN, Akamai’s network is highly distributed, with over 170,000 servers spread across 1,300 data centers in 101 countries.106 Akamai’s distributed business model and relationships with data center operators around the world put it in a unique position to be a catalyst for a renewably powered internet. Energy Transparency: A Akamai continues to provide detailed submissions of its emissions profile and performance toward reducing its energy footprint through the CDP, including reporting its network’s use of electricity and renewable energy by region of operation. Akamai will also provide to its customers upon request a monthly carbon footprint associated with content delivery through the Akamai network servers. Akamai provides the results of its annual sustainability survey back to its vendor network, providing a benchmark to assist data center colocation operators to understand how well they are performing in relationship both to their customers’ expectations, and to the competition. Renewable Energy Commitment & Siting Policy: C As a CDN, Akamai’s siting options are quite different than the data center operators that are the primary sources of online content. Because of its distributed nature, Akamai has business relationships with a broad range of colocation operators, and has at least been leveraging its influence with data center operators through an annual sustainability survey, and providing anonymous results to each vendor to inform them on how they compare with operators. However, given the tremendous amount of internet traffic Akamai is delivering, particularly streaming video traffic, simply measuring energy performance without using the data to guide procurement toward specific goals is no longer sufficient. If Akamai were to set a long-term goal toward being 100% renewably powered, with steady benchmark goals along the way that it then asked its colocation providers to work with it to achieve, this would have a tremendous reach into a range of colocation data center operators. Akamai is currently developing a renewable energy strategy for its network, which it hopes to release in the coming year. Energy Efficiency & Mitigation: A Akamai has maintained an annual target to reduce the carbon and energy intensity of traffic on its network by 30% each year since 2009, and with the exception of 2011, has exceeded this annual goal. For 2013, Akamai actually achieved an absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions despite steadily increasing peak traffic, an accomplishment attributable to shifting to more efficient colocation data centers and also shifting its development lab from Texas to a data center in the Pacific Northwest largely powered by hydroelectric power. Renewable Energy Deployment & Advocacy: C Because of its distributed model, Akamai cannot take advantage of the economies of scale associated with purchasing renewable energy directly to meet a concentrated demand for electricity. However, Akamai should be demanding that its colocation vendors work with it to provide more renewable energy, and continue to be proactive in taking opportunities to engage other internet companies on how to increase their use of renewable energy to power their data centers, through either direct purchase or policy advocacy. Akamai has become more active in supporting federal climate and clean energy policies, which is to be commended.107 Appendix 2 Company scores explained
  39. 39. 41 Greenpeace USA Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet Appendix 2 Amazon Web Services (AWS), owned by Amazon.com, continues to dominate the cloud computing market, providing all or part of the digital infrastructure behind many of the best known and fastest growing online brands, including Netflix, Pinterest, Imgur and Reddit. While AWS remains highly competitive on price for its cloud infrastructure, a number of AWS customers have privately expressed concern over the lack of data and attention being paid to the environmental footprint associated with the AWS cloud. AWS did adopt a long-term commitment to 100% renewable energy for its footprint in November of 2014, and followed this up with its first direct purchase of renewable energy in Indiana in January 2015. AWS recently took an additional step of announcing a goal to be at least 40% renewably powered by 2016,108 and also announced a small pilot of Tesla energy storage batteries at one data center, citing their potential to enable greater use of renewable energy.109 Despite these potentially significant shifts, the continued lack of transparency on the energy performance of the AWS cloud, combined with significant expansion of its infrastructure in utility territories that have little to no renewable energy capacity, would appear to indicate that AWS has not yet determined how it is going to make its commitment to renewable energy become real. Energy Transparency: F By continuing to refuse to provide any information on the energy consumption or greenhouse gas footprint of its data centers and other infrastructure, Amazon falls further out of step not only with its IT sector competitors, but also with the rest of major global corporations. Amazon was among the three largest public corporations in the world that failed to report basic climate change data to CDP.110 Although several AWS customers have reported that they have recently been provided energy footprint data for their use of AWS, the data has been provided under non-disclosure agreements,111 which prevents customers for using it in their own public reporting. With over sixty percent of the Fortune 100 having both carbon and renewable energy goals in place. AWS’s continued lack of transparency is a problem that will likely become a bigger concern to its customers.112 AWS has recently stated that its is currently 25% renewably powered, but with no additional detail provided.113 As it stands currently, neither customers nor stakeholders have an effective basis of evaluating AWS energy performance, or the context to properly assess the impact of any positive steps toward renewable energy the company may take, as recently evidenced by the recent wind contract AWS signed with Pattern Energy.114 The challenge posed by AWS’ lack of transparency for customers is on display in Europe, where AWS says its Frankfurt facility is “carbon-free” but offers no explanation for how. Meanwhile, AWS has told Greenpeace that its Ireland region is powered by 50% renewable energy. Customers aiming to make siting decisions informed by sustainability may be left wondering which location is actually greener. Renewable Energy Commitment & Siting Policy: C AWS’s adoption of a long term commitment to be 100% renewably powered is a potential big milestone in realizing a renewably powered internet. Unfortunately, unlike other major cloud and internet brands that have adopted similar commitments, such as Google115 and Apple,116 AWS has not elaborated on how it intends to go about achieving this goal, including any principles for securing a greater supply of renewable energy that it has it put in place. Given the lack of transparency noted above, it is also impossible to establish a baseline from which stakeholders and customers can track AWS’s progress. AWS continued to rapidly expand its operations in Virginia in 2014. Greenpeace estimates that AWS added 200 MW of new data center capacity in Virginia in the past year, with four new facilities and a significant expansion at a fifth.117 Energy Efficiency & Mitigation: D AWS proudly proclaims that cloud computing “is inherently more environmentally friendly than traditional computing,” a claim that is made by other major cloud operators. Unlike Google and a number of other studies, AWS unfortunately does not contribute any data from its own operations to help establish its claim, or the extent to which it meets or exceeds the performance of on-site, hybrid, or other cloud platforms. AWS professes to have much higher utilization rates, and offers products designed to increase utilization by offering below-market cost server capacity at off-peak hours, which would certainly improve energy performance. Renewable Energy Deployment & Advocacy: D Unless AWS identifies a path to significantly alter the amount of renewable energy powering its US East availability zone in Northern Virginia, estimated to be home already to over half of AWS servers, AWS’s continued expansion there will only make AWS and its customers more dependent on dirty energy. AWS maintains that it has three regions that are “carbon neutral”: Frankfurt; US West (Oregon) & AWS GovCloud (US);118 the latter two are housed on the same data center campus in Oregon.119 Though AWS does not make public how it is able to make these facilities “carbon neutral,” European AWS customers have been told privately at least that the Frankfurt facility is using renewable Guarantee of Origin (GOO) certificates, which are the EU equivalent of unbundled renewable energy credits in the US.120 (see REC & GOO Only Purchases, page 29). AWS’s first purchase of 150MW of renewable energy in Indiana, however, is a positive sign for the company’s level of ambition going forward.121 Although AWS has not indicated how this renewable energy will power its data center infrastructure, the announcement of a new AWS data center in Ohio is one possibility. This could have a high impact on AWS’s growing footprint, potentially displacing the additional demand on the grid in that state, where the electricity is 70% coal powered and less than 2 % renewable.122 It should be noted that Amazon was over two years ahead of the rest of the sector in withdrawing from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the group that was a key obstacle to renewable energy and climate policy at the state level (see page 21).123
  40. 40. 42 Greenpeace USA 42 Appendix 2Clicking Clean A Guide to Building the Green Internet Apple continues to lead the charge in the race to build a green internet, and has significantly increased its impact as a change agent driving renewable energy in the past year. Apple’s public commitment to be an environmentally responsible company and specifically to renewable energy has been significantly elevated since Greenpeace’s last report, and embraced directly by its CEO Tim Cook on several occasions. Evidence of the strength of Apple’s ongoing commitment to a renewably powered iCloud was strongly demonstrated in the past year as it underwent dramatic growth in its data center infrastructure in both the US and the EU; growth that it matched with an equal increase in renewable electricity. Apple’s commitment to a 100% renewable cloud appears to be driving change not only among Apple’s utility sector partners, but also among other major data center operators that play a supporting role in the delivery of Apple’s online products. Energy Transparency: A Apple has steadily improved the amount of information it provides on the amount of electricity consumed at each of its data centers, and the source of electricity used to power each. In April 2014, Apple published a detailed breakdown on its progress toward 100% renewably powered data center operations, setting a high bar for other companies to match, including facility level information of renewable energy supply and the impact its renewable investments and procurement had,124 in keeping with the spirit of the dual track reporting under the recently adopted Scope 2 Greenhouse Gas Protocol.125 Apple also submitted an emissions report to CDP for the first time since 2010, scoring in the top percentile.126 Renewable Energy Commitment & Siting Policy: A Apple’s 2012 commitment to power its data centers with renewable electricity has proven to be a major driver in its siting of data centers. Apple announced three new data centers in the past year in Arizona, Ireland, and Denmark, and with each facility, made clear that it would be able to deliver renewable energy to power its operations. Apple’s success in gaining the cooperation of Salt River Project, the utility for its newest data center in Arizona, as a partner for solar is particularly notable given the utility’s hostility to solar growth among its residential customers. Apple has also continued to follow its commitment to prioritize delivering renewable electricity from either on-site or local sources for its data center operations. Energy Efficiency & Mitigation: A Apple continues to be aggressive in reducing its energy and carbon footprint for all of its operations, and recently achieved its 2014 reduction targets.127 Apple has maintained a high level of transparency on its efforts to mitigate its carbon and energy footprint for each of its data centers, including in both its 2014 Environmental Progress report and also in its CDP submission. Apple’s commitment to mitigate the energy footprint of its data center in North Carolina has been particularly impressive to date, but will demand regular investment as that facility continues to grow. Apple’s recently announced data center in Viborg, Denmark will be designed to capture any excess heat from the data center and pipe it into the town’s district heating system, heating other buildings.128 Apple also recently announced its decision to join the Open Compute Project, which facilitates the sharing of design and other best practices among major data center operators.129 Renewable Energy Deployment & Advocacy: A Apple remains the most aggressive among major internet companies in deploying renewable energy to power its corner of the internet. In North Carolina, while other data center operators like Facebook and Google have remained stymied in their effort to secure a supply of renewable electricity from Duke Energy, Apple has moved forward with its 3rd major solar installation in North Carolina to power its growing data center in Maiden.130 Similarly in Oregon, while a number of data centers in the region have tapped into electricity from large-scale dams, Apple has also shown its willingness to invest in a micro-hydro project to deliver a sustainable supply of hydroelectric power for its Oregon data center.131 Apple also announced an $850 million contract to buy over 250MW of solar for its Cupertino Headquarters and its Newark, California data center.132 Apple’s impact as a change agent among US monopoly utilities expanded this past year, as it was able to secure a commitment to jointly develop 70 MW of solar capacity with Salt River Project (SRP), the local utility for its data center now under construction in Mesa, Arizona.133 SRP currently produces over 50% of its electricity from coal.134 Apple has increased its public support for renewable energy and climate policy, as both CEO Tim Cook and Senior VP for Environmental Affairs Lisa Jackson have spoken with increasing frequency on the threat posed by climate change.